Our topic for this month’s newsletter and blogs is “Data analysis has become vital for all executives.” Being able to separate the truth from the rumor and speculation currently running rampant is vital for continuing success in business—not to mention continuing success in life.

Failing to conduct continuing analysis and separating truth from speculation and rumor results in leaders and employees being distracted by these. Distractions can lead to mistakes and sometimes downright disaster.


Two Types of Approach

There are two types of approaches to any set of circumstances or situations, and both of these are evident in today’s uncertain environment. One is successful, and one most often is not.

The first of these is the one seen the most: reactive. A company or individual reacts to something that happens. For example, a story is published in a trade journal reporting that people are buying less of your company’s product because buyers no longer want it. In reaction, your marketing department engages in a costly campaign that promotes and emphasizes all the reasons that people should buy that product and why it’s still valuable.

If someone had investigated, they might have found the news untrue. One of your competitors managed to get the story published so that more people would be swayed to buy your competitor’s product instead.

And then we have the second approach: proactive. Instead of reacting to occurrences or news items, someone within your company has the job of conducting a proper, consistent analysis of the market and sales environment, uncovering the actual scene. Any measures taken through marketing and sales are then proactively based on factual data.

The results of the second approach are far more positive than the first.


Emergency! Emergency!

The “reactive” mode described above comes about from a company so focused on the “now now now now” of survival that they’re not taking the time to step back and look at the reality of circumstances. This emergency operation method leads to constantly reacting to events and reports instead of taking the time to get the factual data for proper analysis.


Two-Part Authentication

Today’s computer security often relies on two-part authentication to log into a computer system or website. The user logging in does so with a username and password and an additional alphanumeric code transmitted separately to the user’s cell phone or email account. To access the site or system, the user must then enter this code, in addition to a username and password.

This approach can be applied to data analysis. When a report is received, rely on more than just that single report. Verify the information somewhere else.

And as suggested in another of this month’s articles, when you find a reliable information source, hang onto it and refer to it whenever possible.


Make It Part of Policy

If you really want your business to survive these challenging times, make it a company policy that the “reactive” approach simply isn’t allowed. No activities may be undertaken simply in reaction to occurrences, reports or rumors.

Any marketing, sales or even company strategy actions can only happen if they are based on valid real-world analysis. Any proposal for marketing or sales campaigns must include this analysis. The analysis must be current and proven factual.

Don’t let distractions lead to errors. Just refuse to be distracted—practice data analysis always.


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